Recording Both sides of Audio Cassette

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Recording Both sides of Audio Cassette

Permanent link to this post Posted by GeeJay » Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:02 am

I am a total neophite with Audacity and after playing with it for a few hours, and scanning the manual and help feature I have some problems unsolved.

Query 1 - How to make a 2 part recording with wave form graphics showing for both parts.

I want to copy (record) both sides of audio cassettes that I originally recorded from vinyl. Most of these cassettes contain 2 albums by the same artist(s), one album per side.

I want to start recording side A and when it is completed, including overrun if I am not able to pause exactly at the end of the last track, which will usually be the case, and then start recording side B at the end of the last recorded track of side A.

The closest I have been able to get to this is to delete the overrun recording from the end of the last track and then start recording Side B from that point. Unfortunately, while this does record the second side from the desired point, no waveform graphics show on the tracks while recording it.

I need a step by step instruction to guide me to having the waveform graphics while recording the second side.

Query 2 - Burning 32 bit recording

The Audacity manual states that some burners will only work on 16 bit. I have a new PC with a BD/DVD/CD burner which I assume will burn CDs from a 32 bit recording. How can I verify?

Query 3 - Recording rate

I assume I should record on 44,100 Hz. Is this correct?

Any and all help to get this project started will be welcomed.

Thanks

GJ
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Re: Recording Both sides of Audio Cassette

Permanent link to this post Posted by waxcylinder » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:00 am

GeeJay wrote:Query 2 - Burning 32 bit recording

The Audacity manual states that some burners will only work on 16 bit. I have a new PC with a BD/DVD/CD burner which I assume will burn CDs from a 32 bit recording. How can I verify?

Query 3 - Recording rate

I assume I should record on 44,100 Hz. Is this correct?

44.1kHz 16-bit PCM stereo is (part of) the Red Book standard for CDs.

So yes I would recommend setting your project rate to 44100 Hz

With regard to question 2 - you may want to set Audacity to work in 32-bit floating as this will give you more headroom for editing and applying effects like amplification of the signal post-capture. But for export to make WAV files for making CDs you should export to 16-bit stereo WAV. Audacity will do the down-sampling for you as part of the export process.

Have a read of this article in the Audacity Wiki: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/index.php? ... o_burn_CDs

WC
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Re: Recording Both sides of Audio Cassette

Permanent link to this post Posted by waxcylinder » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:12 am

GeeJay wrote:Query 1 - How to make a 2 part recording with wave form graphics showing for both parts.

I want to copy (record) both sides of audio cassettes that I originally recorded from vinyl. Most of these cassettes contain 2 albums by the same artist(s), one album per side.

I want to start recording side A and when it is completed, including overrun if I am not able to pause exactly at the end of the last track, which will usually be the case, and then start recording side B at the end of the last recorded track of side A.

The closest I have been able to get to this is to delete the overrun recording from the end of the last track and then start recording Side B from that point. Unfortunately, while this does record the second side from the desired point, no waveform graphics show on the tracks while recording it.


What I would do is to do the capture of both sides first and then do the editing.

1. Record side 1
2. at the end press Pause NOT Stop
3. turn the tape over and press Pause again to restart recoding of side 2.
4. Save the project (and if you are being cautious you may want to export a WAV file copy of the raw capture as a backup)
5. Edit: in particular sort out the track gap between side 1 and side 2. You may want to silece the intertrack gaps and fade-out/fade-in.
6. Create labels to identify where each "song" starts
7. Use File > Export Multiple and choose WAV as the Export Format from the drop-down in the dialog box
8. Burn a muc CD NOT a data CD from the WAVs

See this article from the Wiki: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/index.php? ... uter_or_CD
and this one: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/index.php? ... ate_tracks

I would also recommend that you upgrade to the Beta 1.3.9 (or the 1.3.10 which is expected to be released soon). There are more features (including SHIFT+Record to restart recording on the same track without having to Pause as above) - and labelling is handled much better in v1.3.x. You can download 1.3 from here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/
Don't be put off by the Beta label - 1.3.x is very mature now and is approaching a new Stable release to replace 1.2.6 which is ancient now.

WC
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Re: Recording Both sides of Audio Cassette

Permanent link to this post Posted by waxcylinder » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:15 am

Oh, and carefully clean the heads and the transport mechanism (pinch-roller and capstan) before you start the transfer project. Over the years these tend to collect a lot of debris that delaminates from the tape as it passes through the heads and transport mech.

WC
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Re: Recording Both sides of Audio Cassette

Permanent link to this post Posted by waxcylinder » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:50 am

32-bit gives you more headroom for effects like amplification - so if you amplify a 32-bit signal you are likely to get less noise than amplifying an equivalent 16-bit signal. The projects are twice as large though!

So if you are only doing capture - simple editing like inter-track gap silencing, fades and then Export to WAV for making CDS or MP3s for mobile player use than you may be better off using 16-bit throughout the process.

Fo further reading see the following from the manual that is currently being developed for teh next release of Audacity:
http://manual.audacityteam.org/index.ph ... references
http://manual.audacityteam.org/index.ph ... ital_Audio

WC
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Re: Recording Both sides of Audio Cassette

Permanent link to this post Posted by GeeJay » Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:36 pm

Thanks for the advice and links.

However, the information provided makes the assumption that the recording of the first side can be paused exactly at the point the last track ends. I would have no problem if I am able to do this.

The problem I have is that I want to be able to start recording the first side and leave it unattended while I am engaged in other activities. I still am in the dark as to how I handle adding the second side if I am not monitoring the first side recording at the time it reaches the end of the last track and have recorded past this point with no input.

For example;

The exact recording time for side A is unknown when starting but is 35 minutes

It is 40 minutes after the start when I am able to stop or pause the recording.

I then have 5 minutes of dead space to eliminate before starting to record the second side from the end of the last track of the first side.

When adding the second side I want to have the waveform displayed as for the first side.

How, exactly, do I do this?

I know there must be an easy way but I have not been able to work it out.

Alternatively, I can record each side separately and then burn them in sequence to the same CD.

As I have not burned music to a CD before, ( I said I was a neophyte and that includes CD burning) I am assuming that when burning the first recording, it will automatically stop when the source recording ends and when burning the second side it will start where the first ended. Is this correct?

Suggestions??

Thanks

GJ
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Re: Recording Both sides of Audio Cassette

Permanent link to this post Posted by Irish » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:54 pm

GeeJay wrote:When adding the second side I want to have the waveform displayed as for the first side.

How, exactly, do I do this?


If you click Pause (not Stop) at the end of recording the first side, and click it again to start recording the second side, as Waxcylinder suggested, it will continue on, from the point at which it stopped, giving you both sides on the one track.

GeeJay wrote:I then have 5 minutes of dead space to eliminate before starting to record the second side from the end of the last track of the first side.


Don't worry about that until you have both sides recorded. Then click and drag the cursor to select the dead space you want to delete, and press "Delete" (You can always Undo it if you make a mistake).
This is the basis of editing; you can do all the tidying up, cutting, re-arranging, or anything else you want, after you have everything recorded.

GeeJay wrote:As I have not burned music to a CD before, ( I said I was a neophyte and that includes CD burning) I am assuming that when burning the first recording, it will automatically stop when the source recording ends and when burning the second side it will start where the first ended. Is this correct?


Not quite.

Audacity will not burn CDs. What you do in Audacity is Export your tracks as WAV files, as described in Waxcylinder's instructions, then use a CD burning program (for example, iTunes, or newer versions of Windows Media Player, or any other burning program) to make the CD from the WAV files. Typically, you drag or import the files into the burning program's window and, if necessary, arrange them in the correct order there.

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